|In Germany, the German government and Ghana have since the 1960s established a tradition of educating and training education migrants, it is reported that many Ghanaians who returned home took up positions of leadership in government, economy, politics and civil society (Schmelz, A 2009:32). DAAD has trained more than 700 Ghanaians who are involved in research, and teaching and contribute to transfer of knowledge and methodology to innovate in the education, health care, the economy, the government and civil society sector (Ibid).
In most cases transfer of know-how and technology by Ghanaian Diaspora takes place on an individual basis and through organized networks such as professional groupings. Many highly educated Ghanaian Diaspora, do not only help to transfer knowledge to Ghana, but they equally try to serve Africa in general. Medical doctors for instance invest in free treatment and transfer of donated equipments and medicines (Goethe & Hillmann (2008), as cited by Schmelz 2009:32). The transfer of know-how and methodology also takes place both through formal University cooperation and through informal exchanges. University cooperation between Germany institutions of higher education and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)have been organized in the past through the initiative of academics of Ghanaian origin (Schmelz 2009).
In some countries, expatriate knowledge networks have been put in place in order to ensure regular contact, the transfer of skills and opportunities for collaboration with researchers and entrepreneurs in expatriate‘s home country. A good example is the Red Caldas network of Colombia that was set up with the help of the government in 1991.Through this network, there has been collaboration between Colombian scientists at home and abroad through symposiums, workshops, joint research programs, visiting scholars, publications and training. Unfortunately, lack of support from the government and unrealistic ambitions have caused some of such networks to fail (ibid).
In recognition of the important role of Diaspora in development, the EU recently launched activities to encourage closer relationship between EU Diaspora and researches based in the EU. ERA- is a research network of European researchers and researchers in the USA. The members of the network are informed of career opportunities in the EU, opportunities for collaboration with EU researchers. They are also informed of European research policies. The EU is also planning strategies to deal with other countries to which European scientists have relocated such as Japan
4.3 Political involvement.
The global circulation of Diaspora from poor countries/ economies to rich ones and back is opening new possibilities for not only economic development but also political development. Over the past decade, African Diaspora have increasingly become important in homeland political arena. The changes are most noticeable in the behavior of homeland governments who have shifted their attitudes toward members of their Diaspora.
For many African Diasporas, transnational life has stimulated a desire to participate in home country politics. Regardless of the vast distance from home, today’s African diasporas’ networks and organizations are linked to political changes in homelands on issues such as overseas voting reforms, dual citizenship rights as well as diasporas demands to rearrange democracy in their home countries (Dr.Mohamoud,2005). Connected to these reforms, is the potential role of African Diaspora, their networks and organizations in shaping political debate and influencing broader political developmental process in Africa.
Presently, it can also be observed in variety of ways through which Africans in the Diaspora mobilize themselves both individually and collectively to undertake a range of electoral and non-electoral political activities. In support for this argument, Awil Mohamoud notes that, African Diaspora is involved in their homelands’ political activities through transferring of political practices and ideas to promising leaders and authorities in the country of origin (Mohamoud, 2009). A good example is that of Nigeria where as the Nigerian Diaspora in the US, in the Nigerian elections of 2003, pledged to send US$ 2.5 million to the candidate who would safeguard policies concerning Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Similarly, according to Al-Ali, Black, and Koser, African Diaspora play an active role in lobbying and advocacy free from the restrictive human rights abuse of their home countries (Al-Ali et al. in Mohan and William, 2002:231-2). As the result of such involvement, it can be observed that African Diaspora can in turn, directly or indirectly, contribute to not only political development but also politics in international relations as a whole. Much of the Political contributions from these diasporas is through ways in which Diaspora communities link up with political struggles in their homelands as further explained by Steven Vertovec below;
“Different Diaspora-based associations may lobby host countries to shape policies in favor of a homeland or to challenge a homeland government; influence homelands through their support or opposition of governments; give financial and other support to political parties, social movements, and civil society organizations; or sponsor terrorism or the perpetuation of violent conflict in the homeland”. (Vertovec, 2005).
In Ethiopia, both the government and opposition have been using Ethiopian Diaspora in the US and Europe to gain support for political power through sending delegations from both parties to speak with Ethiopian communities living in those countries, using internet and media for political lobbying. According to Lyons, the Ethiopian Diaspora have been effective in the areas of fund raising and political lobbying. They have, for example, used the internet to organize demonstrations and to lobby for democratic reforms of their country (Lyons as cited in Pirkkalainen et al,2009:38)
Another dimension which explains the African Diaspora involvement in homeland politics is the dynamics between the host land and the Diaspora organizations (Baser and Swain, 2009). Being outside the country of origin and adopting Western practices of democracy, most African Diaspora develop a sense of freedom to express their disapproval or support for homeland politics. As Bahar Baser and Ashok Swain writes, “ The political system in the host land is highly important, since it determines the extent to which the diasporas might influence the homeland politics in addition to the host land ones” (Ibid).
This implies that, the more liberal the host land’s political system is, the easier it is for the African Diaspora networks, associations and organizations to put forward influence on foreign policy issues in the host land towards their homelands. Additionally, considering the given geographical and political closeness of the strong African Diaspora networks to the centers of global decision- making in London, Paris, New York and Washington, they are within reachable means to campaign for changes in political development and reforms towards countries of origin. (Mohan and Zach Williams: 2002:231)
So, in addition to supporting African-based civil society movements and political parties, the Diaspora could bring a more informed political voice to policy-makers in Europe and North America. Some of these networks tend to use the countries of asylum as places from which they can inform against a dictatorship in their countries of origin
Nonetheless, it should be noted that political involvement of African Diaspora is not all the time positive. Some African Diaspora networks have been using their global connections to conduct rebel movements and disturb peace building in their homelands. For instance, according to ISS assessment of March 2005, many rebel movements are launched in exile because of political repression or crisis in the homeland (ISS, 2005:8).
What's more, other Diaspora tend to plot against or support armed struggles. Additionally, the ISS assessment notes, in most cases being away from homeland political crisis, refugees feel that they have various opportunities to launch guerrilla attacks against the authoritarian regimes that caused them to flee (Ibid). Similarly, during the early years of Jerry Rawlings' rule in Ghana a number of left activists were exiled to London from where they launched anti-PNDC campaigns ( Mohan and Zach William,2002:231).
Some African Diasporas may also resist peace moves by their homeland political elites as they still tend to hold on to different narratives of victimhood and “chosen trauma”. If a homeland government decides to pursue reconciliation with a historical enemy, Diaspora communities may feel their identity as historical victims of the same enemy is under threat. The case of Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda are among best examples of this (Baser and Swain 2009).
5. CHALLENGES FACED BY GHANIAN AND ETHIOPIAN DIASPORA.
There has been an upsurge in discussions about the ability of African Diaspora to transform their homelands. This is based on the assumption that African Diaspora possess enormous capacities and ability and that it is a resource that if well harnessed could serve in the development of Africa. There is no denying the fact that African Diaspora’s possess capacities and ability to serve the development of
Africa especially given the present size of its Diaspora as well as the amounts of remittances sent home annually. Regarding its size, there are roughly 3.5 million citizens of African descent in the USA, with a collective purchasing power of $ 450 billion per annum (Bridgewater as cited by Opoku-Mensah in Xing (ed.) 2010:101). In the EU alone, figures show that there are 3.3 million of them. As far as remittances are concerned, the World Bank reported in 2007 that Sub Africa alone received about $4 billion, surpassing ODA received by these countries of this region. This amount ($4billion) includes only official transfers which are increasingly being registered. Mean while, a substantial portion of remittances are informally transferred and this is not accounted for (World Bank 2007 as cited by Opoku-Mensah in Xing (ed.) 2010:101).
The fact is that, on paper the figures are amazing but in reality most African diasporas are still unable to transform their homelands such that is commensurate with the amount of remittances and their capacity and abilities. The ability of African Diaspora to serve in the development of their countries is still to be seen. It is in a bid to account for the paradox between what is remitted and what can be shown for it, that in this section, this thesis attempts an explanation of the challenges and obstacles that limit the ability of African Diasporas to to effectively serve the development of their home land.
The study proceeds by describing each of the cases being studied, presents a typology of its diaspora and relationship with its home government. Following this will be a critical analysis of the challenges and obstacles confronting the Diaspora of the cases being studied as they try to serve the development of their homeland. In order to do this we shall look at the problem from three different perspectives: National perspective, International perspective and Historical perspective.
5.1 Case study 1: GHANA
Profile of Ghanaian Diaspora
Ghana is located in West Africa and is bounded by three countries, namely: Cote D’Ivoire in the west, Togo in the East and Burkina Faso in the North and in the south it is bounded by a coast line in the Gulf of Guinea. Ghana‘s population was estimated in 2008 to be about 23.9.million inhabitants (PRB 2008 as cited by Awumbila et al. 2008). After acceding to independence in 1957, very few Ghanaians travelled abroad except for purposes of education for instance. But after the over throw of its founding father, President Kwameh Nkrumah in 1965, Ghana went through some of the most difficult moments of its history( Ouchuo, J 2009) .
Political instability reigned as one military regime replaced the other. In few instances, there were moments of weak civilian rule. Both successive military regimes and the weak civilian governments were marred by corruption and embezzlement bringing the economy to an all time low; unemployment and poverty became part of the daily live of Ghanaians . It was during this period prior to 1992 that huge numbers of Ghanaians left the country in search of greener pastures abroad. Immigrating to Europe and North America was seen as a solution to escape poverty at home. Since then, Ghanaians have continued to emigrate even after the restoration of multi party politics and improved economic conditions and life at home. Of course, this is just logical because like the old English adage goes “old habits die hard”. Huge numbers of Ghanaians have continued to emigrate from one generation to the other and spread in many regions of the world (Higazi 2005,Arthur 2008 as cited in Awumbila et al.2008:12).
Ghanaians constitute one of the largest SSA Diaspora out of the continent of Africa (Akyeampong 200:208 as cited by Ouchou 2009:10). Van Dijk explains that since the 1980s the Ghanaian Diaspora has been renowned for its spatial spread in almost all parts of the world and are presently residing in large numbers in The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hong Kong and Taiwan. By the 1990s, it was reported that about 20.000 Ghanaians were residing in Toronto alone, 14,000 in Italy and 15,000 in The Netherlands (Van Dijk in Akyeampong 2000 as cited by Ouchou 2009: 10). It should be noted that the above figures represent only those who are officially registered residents. Meanwhile, there are huge numbers of those who are residing illegally in their host countries making it difficult to determine the actual population of Ghanaian Diaspora.
5.1.1 Typology of Ghanaian Diaspora
So, what caliber of people constitutes the Ghanaian Diaspora? According to former Ghanaian Minister of Interior in 2006, Papa Owusu – Ankomah, Ghanaian Diaspora can be categorized as follows: unskilled manpower, students and skilled manpower. But he argues that it is very difficult to determine how many people belong to each category, just like it is difficult to determine the population of Ghanaian Diaspora. (Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations)
Most Ghanaians who travel out of the country are unskilled manpower. They are often involved in unskilled and mean jobs in their host countries. But with time some acquire skills that may be useful in future when they decide to return home. Besides being involved in unskilled and mean jobs, this category of Ghanaian Diaspora is present in small scale trading activities. The minister also affirms that the migration of unskilled manpower from the country has a positive effect in the sense that among others, it helps to reduce unemployment (Ibid).
The second category is comprised of students and they usually leave the country for purposes of acquiring academic and professional skills (Ibid). Some normally return to the country after completion of their studies, but some do not return as they choose to take permanent residency in their host countries.
The third category is made up of skilled manpower and includes professionals in all works of life such as doctors, nurses, engineers, accountants, and teachers etc. Some of these professionals are actually people for whom the government has invested much on their education. It is argues that flight of skilled man power from the country is negatively affecting the economy. The hardest hit sector is the health sector where countless numbers of nurses leave the country each year for places such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the Gulf countries. It is estimated that in the past decade Ghana has lost about 50% of its nurses to the USA, UK and Canada. The actual number of Ghanaian migrants who are professionals is not known (Ibid). The IMF estimated that by 1990, 15% of Ghanaians with tertiary education migrated to the USA and 10% to OECD countries. Some analysts affirm that 70% of Ghanaian migrants in the USA had completed tertiary education and less than 1% had completed primary education or are uneducated (Ibid).
5.1.2 Ghanaian Diaspora’s Relationship with Home Government.
Although faced with political instabilities for sometime, the main reason that most Ghanaians who left the country was because of economic hardship. For this same reason, the Ghanaian Diasporas' relationship with homeland government has been warm and cordial. This spirited engagement with the government thus earned Ghanaian Diaspora the right to double citizenship and the right to vote from their place of residence (Ibid).
Furthermore, Ghanaian Diaspora now works closely with Ghana’s diplomatic missions. The collaboration have given rise to Ghanaian Diaspora participating in several home based activities at home with the objective of serving homeland development (Ibid).In 2001, for instance, there was a huge “home coming summit for Ghanaians living abroad” for organized visits by Diaspora to their homeland and for diverse activities including exploring development opportunities (Ibid).
It is important to point out that Ghanaians are amongst SSA Diaspora the visits the homeland regularly and maintains very strong bond with their families and friends.
5.2 Case study 2: Ethiopia
Profile of Ethiopian Diaspora.
Ethiopia is one of the unique African countries in a sense that its ancient monarchy was able to maintain its freedom from colonial rule hence the country was never really colonized. However the only exception are the Italians who tried to occupy and rule Ethiopia from the period 1936-41 and left short after. Ethiopian socialist state was established in 1974 after the overthrow of the emperor Haile Selassie by a military junta, the Derg. ( CIA, world fact book)
Ethiopian migrants and refugees are scattered all over the world with the majority found in the US, UK and Canada. Over the past half century, Ethiopia and other horn of Africa countries, experienced series of unrest and conflicts. Caught in endless unrest, Ethiopian population shifted back and forth across international borders seeking refuge from violence, poverty, famine, natural disasters, as well as repressive government (Terrazas:2007).
Being a country that faces complex challenges such as those of food insecurity, overpopulation, political instability, drought as well as ethnic conflicts, Ethiopia was marked to be among the poorest countries of the world. In 2005, Ethiopia reached an emigration rate of 0.6% which is the lowest compared to other African countries (Sonja,2009:4)
From the 1980s onwards, the Horn of Africa which includes Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Djibouti, was known to be the largest refugee producing area in the world with Ethiopia being the largest contributor to the refugee flow (Ibid). As the result, Ethiopia was marked as the refugee crisis country.
Although migration from Ethiopia started long time ago, movements to countries beyond the horn is often associated to the 1974 revolution when Emperor Haile Sellasie’s regime fled the Marxist military government “Derg” (Lyons, 2008). This period was considered the beginning of massive outflow of people from the country and the period of creation of Ethiopian Diaspora. In the late 1970s, another wave of people (the leftist opponents who supported the Ethiopian Peoples revolutionary Party -EPRP) fleeing the country occurred due to “Red Terror”. Hundreds of thousands were forced to escape as the result of forced resettlement, humanitarian disasters and ethnic violence.
However, for whatever reasons which forced Ethiopians to flee the country, the international community agreed that the outflow from Ethiopia then, was a refugee crisis. Scholars such as Terrazas also noted that, it is quite impossible to distinguish those individuals who left the country as the result of poverty or economic stagnation because in most cases the two elements go together (Terrazas, 2007).
It is known to be a common practice that people from the developing countries tend to migrate more into countries that colonized them, but this is not the case for Ethiopians. Compared to US which did not colonize Ethiopia, yet have the highest migrants from Ethiopia, in the late 1976, Italy is said to have had only 2,345 migrants from Ethiopia (Terrazas,2007). Many more are found in Israel, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Greece, Australia, Switzerland and France. However, it should be noted that these are not the only countries Ethiopians are found. According to World Bank Economist Ratha and Shaw, two out of five Ethiopian migrants around the globe were living in the third world countries, mostly in the middle east and Africa (Ratha and Shaw as cited in Terrazas, 2007)
Fig. 3. Estimates of the Size of the Ethiopian Diaspora in OECD Countries
Source: OECD, 2005.
The overall estimated number of the Ethiopian Diaspora in all OECD countries is 146,100 people. Figure 3 shows the estimated number of the Ethiopian Diaspora in OECD countries (OECD, 2005). The general population size is primarily determined by country census data from 2000-2001. The Figure also shows that the Ethiopian Diaspora is highly concentrated in the United States, followed by Canada, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Other estimates of the Ethiopian population in the United States indicate that there may be 73,000 Ethiopian-born residents and 460,000 Ethiopian-descended residents. These numbers pose a wide departure from the OECD numbers presented in Figure 3, which places the US native-born population at 46, 920 ( Fransen,2009: 20)
5.2.2 Relationship between Ethiopian Diaspora and Ethiopian government.
Judging from the history Ethiopians went through with their government, one can come to a conclusion that the relationship between them (Ethiopians and Ethiopian government) is not a very friendly one. This has also been noted in the research conducted by Lindenberg (Lindenberg,R 2008:57) where the chairperson of Ethiopian Organization in Netherlands (ENNOS) was quoted saying “The relation between the Diaspora and the government of Ethiopia is very immature. There is a lot of fear between the two and the government tries hard to control the Diaspora”.
Moreover, this relationship has not just been about fear, but also mistrust. Not all the Ethiopian diasporas trust their government. The lack of trust comes from the limited democracy the government practice. Again, quoted in Lindenberg research, the chairperson of VENA( Ethiopian organization in Netherlands) says “The foreign department has made an effort by instructing embassies in western countries to distract and dismantle the Ethiopian associations abroad, because they assume that we are working as opposition party members” (Ibid).
Therefore this kind of relationship has reduced the degree to which Ethiopians can cooperate with homeland government, at least not directly.
Whether with or with out smooth relationship with their homeland governments, both Ghanaian and Ethiopian Diaspora faces a number of challenges which not even their governments can solve. The relationship with their homeland governments is just one among many other challenges that these Diaspora face as they strife to contribute to the development of their countries of origin. In that view, the following part will further explain more on not only challenges they face in their homelands, butalso challenges looked from international and historical perspective.
5.3 International perspective.
The structural location of Ghana and Ethiopia in the world system determines to a large extent the structural location of their Diaspora in the host countries. There is a direct connection between the hierarchy of a state in the world system and the hierarchy of its people in the world social system. In other words, being Diaspora from periphery countries have a direct impact on the opportunities available to them in their various host countries. In support of this argument, the world system theory propounded by Immanuel Wallerstein,